Once I discovered that registration wasn't until Monday morning, I opted for an afternoon volunteer slot so I didn't have to be up mad early. I got to Lake Placid around 10:00am. I went straight to transition and snapped a photo of the empty finisher's chute. Scroll down to see the "after" photo of the finisher's chute at midnight.
|Empty Finsher's Chute|
Then I spent a few hours on the "hot corner" of the bike watching the athletes finish their first 56-mile loop.
|Andy Potts finishing his second loop|
I got to see a lot of my friends come through their first lap. Did they hear me screaming, who knows! But I got them on the run course for sure!
I then headed out to Run Aid Station #3 for my shift. I have to say that it was so much more fun than I expected. As an athlete, it's much easier to do a job knowing that it's appreciated. You could tell that we didn't have as many volunteers as they needed, but we worked our butts off and made the best of it.
|Aid Station #3|
The low point of the day was having an athlete come into our station and ask "Is there some place I can lie down?" I knew immediately by the look in her face that she was near the end. She said she was getting dizzy and her feet had been asleep for 2 miles. She was completely with it, but her body was giving in. We layed her down and another volunteer who was a PTA sat with her until Medical came to pick her up. They gave her a blanket, an oxygen mask, and consoled her as much as possible while she cried saying "I just don't want my day to be over." She knew she wouldn't make the cut off time since she was still on her first run loop, but it was heart-breaking all the same.
I worked 2:30 to 8:30 and then headed back to transition. It was 10:00 by the time I got there and I was already falling asleep on my sore feet. I got some food at the volunteer tent and spent an hour "resting" on my chair. Then I met up with Lisa, a member of my tri club who also volunteered, and we watched the last hour of athletes coming in.
|Finish Line at 10:30pm|
|Finish Line at midnight|
Then with about ten minutes left, Mike Reilly started walking up the finish line...
|Ironman Announcer Mike Reilly looking for more athletes coming in|
You could tell he was trying to figure out whether the last few athletes would make it in or not. Then with two minutes left, Andy Potts goes running back out of the finish. "Where is he going?" we all thought. Mike told us that the last athlete was a quarter mile out. We looked at the timer and thought "this is gonna' be close." Well, he didn't make the cut-off, but got the best escort into the finish of the day...
Sorry about the blur, but the guy was literally dragged/carried all the way to the finish line with Andy Potts (in grey on the right) cheering him on the whole way! Sure, he didn't make it in under the 17-hour limit, but in my mind (and plenty of others I'm sure), he still finished.
Then the real party began!
Lisa and I (and about 20-30 others) walked around the Lake Placid High School and got in line at the gymnasium to register for next year's race. Now, registration was not slatted to begin until 9am. So we all brought our chairs, sleeping bags, and such and spent the night.
|Volunteer line for 2013 Lake Placid Registration|
Aren't we a bunch of crazy people! We had an Ironman Staff member come by "brief" us on how things would go. Apparently we even had the Race Director come by and tell us to come back in the morning because he would never turn down volunteers for registration. I was already asleep by then, but no one left.
I fell asleep for 30-60 minutes at a time off & on all night. It was not what you'd call a comfortable evening. Around 6:30am, I got up and decided to walk around and attempt stretching out. I quickly discovered that the registration line had extended from the gym, to the street, and down to the 'hot corner" already; 0.2 miles of people ready to pay for a race one full year away. ...and people were still arriving to get in line.
|Registration Line at 6:30am|
Thankfully, they opened up at 7:40 and it was very quick. I was out, back to my car, and on the road by 8am. I was very happy since I had a 5 hour drive home and work at 2pm. If they had waited until 9am, I would have been cutting it V-E-R-Y close to not making it. Phew!
So now I am registered for two full Ironman distance races before finishing ONE. Smart?, maybe not but oh-well.
A friend also found a great video summarizing the volunteer registration process, but this lady was a slacker 'cause she didn't get in line at midnight. haha
Questions1. Do you volunteer for races?
Both for the opportunity to give back as well as the experience from the opposite side, you should.
2. When is the last time you got in line at midnight for anything?!
Christmas shopping maybe? The twilight movies?
Swim fast. Bike smart. Run hard.